Anza-Borrego Desert – Wilson Peak and Yaqui Well

When the Land Cruiser first arrived home it wouldn’t switch in and out of 4WD, and it had failed its smog check due to a high idle and non-spec catalytic converter. We changed the 4WD vacuum solenoid valve with a random part from a 2WD pickup (cut to fit) and that problem was solved. Thanks to the forum for the suggestion to use the alternate part, which saved us around $200. We had the cat replaced by Warner’s Muffler who did a great job.

1988 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ62

On my John Muir Trail trip we were treated to some off-roading in a cool mid 80’s Toyota Land Cruiser. It was all rickety and falling to pieces, and a notable experience of the hike.

John Muir Trail

John Muir Trail

Eric picked me up dark and early in a rented yellow Kia Soul and we headed off on our journey to Yosemite to hike the John Muir Trail, roughly 210 miles from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney with ultralight gear (see my gear list here). Anticipation and excitement were thick in the air, even though I was finding it difficult to unplug from work at first. We drove to Fresno airport, returned the car and jumped on the YARTS bus from Fresno to Yosemite national park.

Lightweight Down Quilt

Since Eric and I are planning on hitting the John Muir Trail later in the season, I need to be prepared for colder weather. What better than a down quilt? Even though down is high-maintenance (i.e. must be kept dry), it just can’t be beat for warmth to weight ratio. 

South Fork Kern River

Kennedy Meadows to Kern River

Pacific Crest Trail
Mile 704 – 716 (12 miles)

I’ve been following along with the s/v Rebel Heart family and their adventures, reading their blog for a couple of years now, so when Eric put out a request for hiking buddies for a Fathers’ Day backpacking hike, I jumped at the opportunity.

First PCT Overnighter Without the Baby Carrier

Pacific Crest Trail
Mile 41 – 39 (2 miles)

Gabriel finished his first year of pre-school and as a celebration we all went on an overnight trip along the PCT – without the baby carrier for the first time. In fact, he carried his own backpack containing his favorite ‘sons’: Bun-Bun the rabbit, Baby Sea Ott the baby sea otter, and Parrot the parrot.

Lake Morena to Scissors Crossing

Pacific Crest Trail
Mile 20 – 77 (57 miles)

I had been planning a little hike along the PCT from where we left off on our last trip (Lake Morena at PCT mile 20), to the 78 freeway at Scissors Crossing, roughly PCT mile 77. This would be a nice continuation of our journey from the border and would neatly coincide with the way the PCT map pages are laid out – it would complete the first page of the map. My friend Brian said he’d be interested in coming, so we set a date and planned the trip and away we went.

Tamarack Valley via Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Friday morning we woke up and decided that everything else could wait. In less than two hours we had packed the car and headed out on a trip back to the San Jacinto Wilderness – this time from the east, via the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

Palomar Mountain Observatory Camping

Our friends Joel Amy and Meret put together a spur of the moment camping trip up to the Palomar Mountain Observatory Campground. Away we went!

Birthday Sailing Surprise

Jess wouldn’t tell me what she had organized for my birthday – she simply instructed me to get on my bike and away we went, Jess leading the way to ‘who-knows-where’! We eventually ended up at Oceanside Harbor where she had rented a little sailboat for us for a couple of hours. It was great to bob around in the harbor and then head out into the open ocean for a bit of a spin. We reminisced about the last time we did a birthday sail, back in Marina del Rey when Gabriel was only a week or two old. My, how things have changed!

Mt Laguna Car-Camping near the PCT

Our friends invited us to come car-camping at the Burnt Rancheria campground at Mt Laguna. We had planned to continue our PCT section hike progress and walk in from Cibbet’s Flat Campground to meet them, but at the last minute decided to keep things simple and just meet them at the campground for some luxurious car camping!

San Jacinto Peak – Solo

I went up to San Jacinto Peak by myself for a night’s getaway. I had never been on a solo overnight backpacking trip before, so I was very excited and a bit scared. When I picked up my permit from the ranger station, the ranger said that I would be the only person in the park that night!